Do you have a book inside you just crying to get out? Are you having difficulty just getting started? Well, here are some ideas to help you start writing your book.
Writers fall into two categories: those who just sit down and write, and those who strive for perfection, which means that they write a little and then fuss over it. Forget about perfection! Think of writing a book as a project, with steps and a timeline. And when you start writing, just write. Leave the editing step until later.
Then there’s your writing environment — when and where. Many writers do their best work when they’re fresh in the morning. But if you’re not a morning person, maybe you write best in the afternoon or evening, or maybe in the wee hours of the morning, when there are no disturbances. Whenever you do your best work, you need a place that’s conducive to writing, a space that’s free of disturbances, a place where your thoughts can flow freely. Some people like the quiet of a library; some people like to work in a coffee shop (e.g., Starbucks). Hint: Find your special writing place.
Some authors can sit down and just write. However, whether fiction or non-fiction, it’s a good idea to create an content or plot outline, which might, later, become your table of contents. This way, you can begin to visualize, in print, your whole book. However, there’s a lot a detail missing, so it’s a good idea to carry around something to record spontaneous ideas (e.g., a small tape recorder, your cell phone, a notepad). Then, start fleshing out each chapter, not necessarily in order, by gathering appropriate information for each topic. You could even put these in physical or electronic file folders, organized by sections of your book outline. Hint: Start writing your book by creating an outline
An excellent source for book content is a series of blogs you’ve written, or could write. Another great source is articles you’ve written for, or copied from, newspapers, magazine, e-zines, other websites, etc. Or maybe you could start with all the handouts you’ve created over the years for clients or presentations. When organized, these often make a great start for writing a book. So, go through all the “stuff” you’ve written or collected over the years and mine the gems.
Then, as the book begins to take shape, start talking about it with friends, colleagues or family, depending on the nature of your book. What kind of feedback do you get? Remember, a lot of folks won’t tell you that your breath smells, so be wary of lots of too many positive comments. But one way to get past the potentially false flattery is to ask if you should delete any of the book, or if you should change anything, or if they think something is missing. That way, you get into some more serious on-topic discussions. Hint: Start getting feedback.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, you need to have a “burn” to start writing your book. You need to feel some passion, some fire, to write something different, or to write about something in a different, even an exciting, new way. And don’t let any “wet blankets” try to put our your fire. But ask yourself if you really, really have what it takes to go through the steps, and yes sometimes the pains, to get a book published. If so, go for it!
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